We’ve just rolled out our second Watergate headline in a week, why is that classic case of a crime, and the cover-up that brought down the president, so on our minds? There are two crimes here. The first is the criminal acts Brad Aldrich committed, and the second is the not technically illegal way the Chicago team dealt with all of that at the time. The cover-up that has been exposed began in earnest in 2020 when Kyle Beach launched his lawsuit.

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly met with the press yesterday and said the following things about who knew what, when they knew it, and why the league has made the choices they have made:

Elliotte Friedman, an analyst with Hockey Night In Canada, said Cheveldayoff will also face questions about the discrepancy between a statement he made earlier this year and what the report stated about the delay in action over the allegations against Aldrich.

In July, Cheveldayoff said in a statement he had “no knowledge of any allegations involving Mr. Aldrich until asked if I was aware of anything just prior to the conclusion of his employment with the Chicago Blackhawks.”

The report makes that period of time three weeks — during which time Aldrich is alleged to have made another unwanted advance.

“There was a statement that came out a while ago that was a denial. And now the name is there, right? So you have to explain it,” Friedman said. “This isn’t going to go away until we have some answers.” Source

It’s hard not to feel like Cheveldayoff is benefitting by having crafted a technically true, but misleading story about the “when he knew it” portion of this problem. Meanwhile the fallout continues as the NHLPA head Donald Fehr proposed an investigation into their failures during a meeting of the Executive Board (32 player representatives) last night:

TORONTO (November 1, 2021) On the NHLPA’s Executive Board call today, Don Fehr recommended that an independent investigation be commenced by outside legal counsel in order to review the NHLPA’s response to the Kyle Beach matter. The Executive Board is currently voting on this matter.

It’s very heartening to see that 50 or so players who didn’t have to join this call chose to, but not everyone thinks an investigation is necessary:

Investigations are good, and discovering the systemic problems that lead to a culture of silence and cover-up is necessary, but this all feels very like Fehr delaying things hoping the players have some new issue to care about that will deflect attention away from things that happened on his watch.

The NHL needs to rebuild a lot of trust with the players, the fans and the general public, and it’s hard to see how all these carefully crafted statements of technicalities are helping with that.

In particular the investigation into Bill Peters which is magically done, finished silently in a closed room it would seem, covers a period of time on the Rockford IceHogs, AHL affiliate of Chicago, in the 2009-2010 season. Who would consider that unrelated to the organizational failures surrounding Aldrich? Akim Aliu was a teammate of Kyle Beach in Rockford.

This story feels dramatically unresolved, and nothing the NHL is doing, even their laudable efforts, is putting someone who has no control over a player’s future in the position of taking their reports of improper conduct. Until that happens, this all seems like a setup for the big scandal of 2030 where everyone says, oh, well, that was a decade ago, and we’ve changed.

To come: the postponed media availability of Cheveldayoff, and the result of the NHLPA vote.

Hockey things:

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be forwards:

And there’s a game today! Vegas is in town, and hopefully by late afternoon, we’ll have the list of the players left standing on that team. William Karlsson is now on the injured list, however.

Check this out if you haven’t:

Topi Niemelä is having a breakout offensive year and we need to talk about it - Pension Plan Puppets
Niemelä is scoring at a rate no U20 defensmen in the Liiga has before, but what does that mean?

And try to have a good Tuesday, everyone.